Being the capital of the ancient Chalukya empire, Badami is rich in the ancient cultural artefacts left behind by this 6th century kingdom. Apart from its famous rock-cut temples, the Archaeological Museum is a brilliant source for those looking to educate themselves on the past civilisation of this land. Located at the foothills of the northern hill, this historical treasure chest aims to collect and preserve explored materials, sculptures, inscriptions, architectural members scattered in and around Badami.
The museum mainly comprises of ancient stones, tools, and sculptures. One can find a range of architectural members, inscriptions, hero stones, and carvings datable from the 6th to the 16th century. There are four galleries inside the building, as well as an open gallery in the veranda and an open-air gallery in front. The exhibits chiefly comprise of sculptures of Lord Shiva in different forms, along with deities like Lord Ganesha, the different avatars of Lord Vishnu, the holy Lajjagauri, and various panels narrating Bhagavata scenes. One of the galleries houses a scaled model of a prehistoric rock shelter, with showcases in the surrounding walls displaying stone artifacts, prehistoric art and their activities.
The masterpieces in the collection include Lajja Gouri, Makara Torana carved on both the sides, the narrative panels with intricate carvings, animal figurines of lions, elephants, Kalarimurthy, Tripurantaka Siva and Bhairavi. If one is feeling especially adventurous, a trek through the northern hill offers some truly breathtaking views of the town, the neighbouring boulders and Agastya Lake.